Winter Cycling from Montreal to Moscow

Cycling is a good transportation solution, but much more could be done to enable bicyclists, especially in winter. Why? Because transportation is at the core of our lives and the bicycle is one of many modes of transportation that offers well-known advantages, such as being practical, reliable, affordable, healthy, fun and clean. Bicyclists, however, are chronically exposed to adverse weather conditions – such as wind, heat, cold, rain, and snow – and are more vulnerable when it comes to air pollution, traffic safety and terrain issues. 

After Oulu, Winnipeg, Leeuwarden and Minneapolis-Saint-Paul, the 5th edition of the Winter Cycling Congress was held in Montréal, Québec. With 85 presentations and workshops, 105 speakers, and 300 attendees from 8 countries, the vibrant congress was held from February 8 to 10, 2017. A variety of people interested in winter cycling learned about best practices and shared their experiences. The Congress created an opportunity for dialogue that helps moving us closer to a future where mass cycling and walking in winter is the norm in communities around the world. At Mobycon we support the Winter Cycling Federation vision of “winter cycling for everyone.” To us, cycling year-round is normal and practical, and cycling should be a viable transportation option for people of all ages and abilities all around the world.

Our consultant and Winter Cycling Federation Board Member Angela van der Kloof contributed to the lively conference. In her “Mix and Match” presentation, Angela reflected on 25 years of experience with bicycling lessons and what it teaches us about promotion and education for winter cycling. The Netherlands has a long tradition of offering bicycling lessons to immigrants and refugees, and more recently to native Dutch elderly to support them to cycle safely up to a high age. Although the backgrounds of these groups are different, there are several things that they share, like the fear to fall or crash and the uncomfortable feeling when being on the bike for the first time or in a long time. After 25 years of having taught hundreds of people how to ride a bicycle, supporting dozens of local initiatives through training, and advising volunteers and cycle trainers in a variety of countries, collaboratively developing methods and materials along the way, Angela has come to the conclusion that the basics of teaching people how to ride can be applied to enthusing and teaching anyone to ride a bike in new circumstances, such as riding with a child or winter cycling. The presentation is published on the Winter Cycling Congress 2017 website

The Winter Streets Lab was an interactive workshop hosted by Angela van der Kloof, Elizabeth Allingham and Justin Goulding. The session started with the notion that as a society we face a lot of tough issues. Some of these issues may seem minor and easy to solve at first hand, but nothing has really changed over a long period of time. An example of such issues is snow plowing; it is very common to see piles of snow on cycle tracks, paths and lanes in winter. This prevents people from riding their bikes in winter, although they may wish to do so on clear paths. When nothing has changed over time, it is up to us to take the opportunity and start digging into the complexity of these things and create new ways to deal with snow on cycle paths. During this workshop, we imagined the worst and the best when it comes to winter streets. This allowed to inspire effective actions that we can take collaboratively as well as in our own community. Get a feel for the Montreal Winter Streets Lab in this document.

On the final day, the Winter Cycling Congress Bicycle was passed on from Montreal to Moscow. Stay tuned for the Call for Proposals! We hope you are inspired to support year-round cycling in your city and are always interested to hear from you.

Contact Angela van der Kloof for more information on Cycling Education or Winter Cycling.


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